Arts & Life

Straight Shooters: Wading through wedding webs (and other mixed metaphors)

Practical Wisdom For Couples: Samantha and Gordon have been together for 20 years. They are both writers and comics, with Samantha also an animal care giver, and Gordon a musician. They bear witness to the troubles and tribulations of other twosomes with a deep sympathy born from their own experiences together. In this space, they will share what has often been hard-won wisdom, in the happy hope it will be of service.



When, after twenty years of happily living in sin, he suddenly dropped to his knees and proposed, I was floored. Then the girly floodgates opened wide and the inevitable planning began. We were determined to abide by very strict rules, culled from the many weddings we have resentfully attended. Why, we have always wondered, do couples have ceremonies at 2ish, so that we all must wander wraith-like through the streets for hours until the reception? Why, at the reception, must we listen to nervous, uninspired speeches while our tummies howl their hunger? The dinners lukewarm, the DJs shite. Screw that. Screw also the multiple thousands on a dress I wear for eight hours and a cake of which I eat one slice. We applied the same rules we apply for all of our parties: excellent food and booze and plenty of it. Hip shaking music and dim, goldeny lighting. Too many weddings attended where we shuffle to YMCA in the garishly lit cavern of a rented hall.

We had our wedding in the garden of my Brother’s beautiful home last weekend. Guests arrived after dinner, so that their days were their own, and this an evening of celebration. Spectacular and abundant nibblies were passed around. We chose each and every song. No speeches. Well, there were plenty of speeches but they were all murmured to us by our friends and families as we floated through them all, as we were gently taken aside again and again, so we could all declare our love and friendship, like a covenant, a seal. The groom looked so damn money in his suit, and I felt like Helen of flippin’ Troy.

Would I have done anything differently? Only one thought leaps forward: contingency time. Everything takes longer than one thinks it will, and no matter how one organizes or makes lists as long as poetry readings at a stuttering clinic, Life still darts forward to administer an ill-timed wedgie. Let them come.


She was the pretty picture of incredulity that September day when I popped the question.  What was to come after, however, I had only considered in the vaguest of terms. We’d get married, yeah, but where, when, by who or what? Priest or officiate? In flames or underwater? Should we just elope, mayhap to Vegas and get hitched by Punjabi Elvis? Paintball?  Oh, cursed freedom of choice!

Sammy and I basically congealed our favourite romantic elements of the marriage ceremony and jettisoned those we thought weren’t representative.  We kept the exchange of vows and rings. All romantic aspects were retained.  We didn’t go with a priest or church simply because neither of us claim any religious affiliation, instead opting for our glorious officiate Naomi, a Unitarian who encouraged us to hand-pick the wording of her recitation.  We eschewed a dj and made our own play-lists incorporating much of the music we’ve been enjoying together and with our friends for two decades. We brought our fabulous and talented cat Piper with us, taking her on regular walks around the property and watching as our friends took turns massaging the little shit.  (I want that cat’s life…)

We got married, took some pictures and started dancing. I highly recommend this formula should you be considering your own nuptials and, let me just say, I now know what the meaning of marriage actually is.

(Cue: music swells)  It is about the public proclamation of your love made to the people you love the most. The people who get you, who’ve known you, suffered and celebrated you, people who you cannot imagine your life without.  It is the two of you announcing yourselves to the Infinite!

And then dancing yourself catatonic. Amen!

All relationship queries are warmly and heartily encouraged.
Samantha Bennett is a writer and comic who can be reached at where she cheerfully encourages feedback.

Gord Disley ia a comedian, writer and garde manger based in Montreal.